Landscapes of Resilience NOSSP Planning Grant Proposal FUNDED

Keith Tidball and his team have been awarded a National Open Spaces Sacred Places planning grant. The TFK Foundation, which awarded the grant, is a private nonprofit that funds accessible urban green spaces.

The mission of the TKF Foundation is to provide the opportunity for a deeper human experience by supporting the creation of public greenspace that offers a temporary place of sanctuary, encourages reflection, provides solace, and engenders peace.

Learn more about TFK and NOSSP on their website:

Congratulations to Keith and his team!

Matt Gonser ’06 will be working at the Sea Grant College Program

Matthew Gonser (B.S. NTRES ’06, M.L.A. ’12, M.R.P. ’12) will be joining the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Sea Grant College Program as an extension agent, focusing on community planning as a member of the Center for Smart Building and Community Design.  Matthew will work as an intermediary between the academic and professional worlds, coordinating community and local agency efforts, as well as acting as liaison to the EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities and the National NEMO Network (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials).

Fernow Renovation Project Update 1-18-12

The ground floor slab has been removed to allow excavation for the base of the elevator shaft (pictured below), new stairwell and plumbing and electric.

Here is the excavated ground floor looking to the east:

…and to the west:

The framing of the walls has started on the first floor.   Here is the first floor looking to the west (looking down the hallway towards Emerson):

…and the first floor looking to the east.  The walls are being insulated with (soy based!) spray foam insulation to keep us warmer in winter and cooler in summer.  The windows are all being weather stripped to minimize the drafts.

Here is one of the corner offices on the northwest corner of the second floor (you can see Mann through the windows).

Here is some of the office framing in action.  They use a laser to get it in the exact spot and square.  The area without spray foam under the windows is where the fan coil heater will be located.

Here is the second floor looking to the west:

Here is the third floor looking east.

..and the third floor looking west (note the giant set of construction plans that they use to determine things like where to place each office wall):

Ruth Sherman Wins Bronze at UCI Masters World Cyclocross Championships

Ruth Sherman, a Research Associate in the Department of Natural Resources, competed in the Women’s 50-54 2012 UCI Masters World Cyclocross Championship Race held in Louisville, KY, Jan. 12-15, the first time they’ve been held in the U.S. and took home the bronze medal.

If you’ve never heard of cyclocross, it is a fun, crazy bike race that is somewhere between road racing and mountain bike racing. The sport originated in Belgium as a way for bike racers to keep in shape in the fall and winter when the weather started getting too cold and rainy for road riding. The races are hard and fast and consist of many laps on a short course (2.5 -3.5 km) that typically are 30-60 minutes long. The courses feature pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills, and obstacles that require the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike through/over the obstacle (barriers, sand traps, stairs, mud pits) and remount in one motion. It’s a very spectator friendly sport – spectators ring cowbells, heckle the riders, and sometimes wear costumes- it’s generally a very festive environment.

There’s an article on Ruth’s race and photos here:

And more photos of the 4-day race event here:

Emerging Issues Conference

Next month, the Ecological Society of America will host its second Emerging Issues conference, “Developing Ecologically-Based Conservation Targets Under Global Change.” The conference, conceptualized by Bernd Blossey and Laura Martin of DNR and Dov Sax of Brown University, will bring together one hundred ecologists, social scientists, conservation practitioners, and graduate students to (1) identify existing and novel conservation targets that are ecologically sound in light of rapid global change, and (2) develop a framework for assessing the inherent trade-offs, risks, and benefits involved in achieving those conservation targets. The ultimate objective is to provide science-based, practical decision tools for those charged with implementing conservation strategies throughout North America and internationally.

The conference will be held on February 27-March 1, 2012, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. The conference organizing committee also includes Cornellians Susan Cook-Patton (EEB), Ashley Dayer (DNR), Harry Greene (EEB), and Karim-Aly Kassam (DNR).

In 2007, the ESA Governing Board announced a new conference series to provide ESA members the opportunity to organize special conferences highlighting emerging, exciting ideas in ecology with the endorsement and support of the Society. The series, originally named the Millennium Conference Series and renamed the Emerging Issues Series, is intended to address high-visibility issues of wide interest in the science community. Organizers are encouraged to work across disciplinary boundaries, to engage compelling speakers, and to produce high-quality publications.

Dr. Tom Gavin’s CAPE Lecture

Dr. Tom Gavin, Professor Emertus of the Department of Natural Resources, presented: My Life as a Field Biologist: from Deer to Digital Book in 40 Short Years. to the Cornell Association of Professors Emeriti (CAPE) on December 8, 2011.

Tom Gavin’s lecture provided a panoramic reprise of his research career as a Field Biologist by way of four major projects, all using marked individuals to illuminate larger aspects of animal behavior and ecology. He explored 1) the naturally skewed mortality pattern in an isolated, nonhunted population of Columbian white-tailed deer, 2) the adult Bobolink’s propensity to return to its previously used nesting site despite its annual migratory trip of thousands of miles , 3) how understory forest birds in Costa Rica live in a landscape that has been fragmented by humans, and 4) and the demise and conservation of the Idaho Ground Squirrel.

To download the lecture, click here.

Yangfan Li Awarded Green Talents Sustainability Prize

Four Chinese researchers were awarded the renowned “Green Talents” sustainability prize on Thursday. “Climate change, water shortages, a loss of biodiversity and a lack of raw materials – all urgent social challenges which the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research aims to draw to the attention of science, business and politics in Germany in its second programme supporting “Research on sustainable develop- ment”. Achieving sustainability, however, is a global undertaking. Schemes like Green Talents help to promote that cultural plurality and creativity which encourages the de- velopment of global solutions. That is why we intend to intensify global exchange be- tween young researchers in the field of environmental and sustainability research,” explained the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Thomas Rachel, Member of the German Bundestag at the award ceremony in Berlin.

No fewer than four prize-winners came from China. Zhou Jin, a doctoral student at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, was distinguished for her scientific work on optimisation processes in the field of environmental protection technology. Guan Ting convinced the jury on account of her numerous research projects in the field of environmental politics. She is currently studying for a PhD at Zhejiang University, and is analysing in a case study the role of politics in alleviating social and ecological problems. Dr Li Yangfan of Nanjing University is currently engaged at Cornell University in Ithaca, USA, in research on aspects of urban ecology, and impressed the jury by having produced such a large number of publications on the subject. Dr Xue Bing lectures and researches at the Institute of Applied Ecology in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and was rewarded by the jury for his research work on industrial ecosystems, which is of great significance in China.


Cornell to Lead National Environmental Education Program

Young people working at an urban farm

Alex Kudryavtsev
Young people work at an urban farm in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan.
Bronx high school science teacher brought her students this summer to the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm

Alex Kudryavtsev
A Bronx high school science teacher brought her students this summer to the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Brooklyn, New York.

Cornell has been selected to lead a national, five-year, $10 million Environmental Protection Agency environmental education professional development program.

Every five years, the EPA’s Office of Environmental Education requests proposals to lead its national environmental education training program. This year Cornell’s Civic Ecology Lab was selected, with funding of around $2 million per year for five years.

Traditionally, environmental educators have focused on pristine, natural environments while teaching in schools, nature centers and outdoor education centers. More recently, a new tradition is emerging in cities, with community development, environmental restoration and social justice groups also teaching environmental education, largely to minority and urban youth. Cornell’s “EECapacity” project seeks to link these two types of educators through workshops, online courses and other means, and to create opportunities to exchange ideas, practices and resources.

“Most young people today are going to experience the environment in urban neighborhoods,” said Marianne Krasny, professor and chair of the Department of Natural Resources and the project’s principal investigator. “In the largest sense, we are trying to redefine environmental education practice within the reality of an urban society.”

Across the country, thousands of urban programs use environmental education to reach young people. For example, the community garden movement offers a way for people to steward and create natural settings and ecosystem services in empty lots. Community gardens also provide opportunities for young people to learn about the environment, while working alongside the elder gardeners in their communities. In New York City, oyster restoration projects, where youth and adult volunteers create artificial reefs for oysters to grow, provide similar benefits and opportunities for environmental and civic learning. Krasny refers to community gardening, oyster restoration, community forestry and similar community-based stewardship as civic ecology practices.

“Those are the kinds of practices we are trying to bring into the fold of environmental education,” said Krasny.

Through a series of workshops, EECapacity will bring educators together from traditional and nontraditional urban backgrounds to exchange ideas and resources, and form social networks. From there the project will see what innovative ideas emerge. “We are not going to dictate practices,” said Krasny. “We want to create an exchange of ideas, and expect that the educators will come up with innovative practices and apply them in the world.”

Additionally, there will be a research component to test the notion that diverse groups of educators, given opportunities to share practices and ideas, will develop innovative environmental education practices.

Among more than 30 collaborators, major partners include the North American Association for Environmental Education and its State Affiliate Network; Environmental Education Exchange; Akiima Price Consulting; the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Green Guerillas Youth Media Tech Collective; Institute for Learning Innovation; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s People’s Garden Initiative.

New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

The New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit was established at Cornell University in 1961.  The New York Unit is one of 40 units in 38 states established for the purpose of enhancing the management and conservation of our nation’s natural resources.  We work on natural resource issues of interest to our cooperators, with an emphasis on New York State.

Our cooperators are:

Our mission is to:

  1. Conduct research on natural resources issues
  2. Provide graduate-level education and training
  3. Provide technical assistance and training for our cooperators

Unit staff:

William L. Fisher – Unit Leader-Fisheries

Angela K. Fuller – Assistant Unit Leader-Wildlife

Mitchell J. Eaton – Assistant Unit Leader-Ecology

Melanie Moss – Administrative Assistant

Unit publications:

Contact information:

New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
B02 Bruckner Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: 607-255-2839
Fax: 607-255-1895

Visit our USGS NY Coop Unit website at: